The MultiLila research team at the project’s first dissemination event in Delhi, June 2018.
The MultiLila research team at the project’s first dissemination event in Delhi, June 2018. ©

British Council

Decisions about which language of instruction to use is an important topic around the world, with many debates about policy decisions to introduce English to teach across the curriculum – particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The MultiLila research project aims to contribute vital evidence to inform these decisions.

The British Council is a key partner in the MultiLila project, led by the University of Cambridge and funded by the ESRC (Economic and Social Research Council) and DfID, UK under the umbrella of the Global Education Challenge. 

The project tests learners’ cognitive, literacy and numeracy skills at two points in time between 2017 and 2020. It aims to identify whether or not children who learn through the medium of a language which is not the same as their home languages have different levels of learning outcomes than children whose home and school language is the same.

Research is being conducted in three sites in India: Delhi, Bihar and Hyderabad, with variables of gender and home environment also taken into account. The project includes classroom observations which allow an analysis of the teaching practices and classroom language use that the children experience.

A strong consortium of partners includes the University of Reading, the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Bangalore. 

The first dissemination event was held in mid-July in Delhi, raising awareness of the project and sharing initial findings with participants from the government, academia, NGOs and schools. A second event is planned for February 2020 in Hyderabad. The project concludes in 2020.

Further information about the project can be found here: